SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has said that the British Government must seek a further extension to the deadline for leaving the EU. The SDLP Spokesperson on Agriculture was speaking as the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly set on trying to ignore the law forcing him to seek an extension to the current 31st October deadline.
Mr McGlone said, “Unable to secure cross-party support for a General Election, and unwilling to follow the letter of the law, the British Prime Minister is shutting down the options available to his increasingly right-wing Government as the current Brexit deadline approaches.
“The prospect of this Prime Minister getting a new deal with the EU that Parliament would agree to before the 19th October, as the new legislation requires, remains highly unlikely.
“While Boris Johnson is apparently considering breaking the law rather than spending his personal political capital, it is clear that a further extension is necessary to the 31st October deadline for the UK to leave the EU.
“A continuation of the current uncertainty for the agri-food sector is not ideal, but it is better than the devastating impact on the island of Ireland of the no-deal Brexit that Boris Johnson appears intent on driving the UK towards.
“The current proposals to avoid further checks on trade in or around the border in a no-deal Brexit have been revealed as unsustainable in the British Government’s own leaked documents on Operation Yellowhammer.
“There would also be new tariffs on Northern Ireland goods and new rules, processes and requirements that agri-food businesses here would have to understand and implement if they were to be able to continue to trade with the EU.
“Our local economy remains highly dependent on the sustainability of our agri-food sector. The future arrangements within the UK, on the island of Ireland, and with the rest of Europe will be essential to securing its continued success.
“It is the responsibility of all elected representatives in the North to use all of their influence in all legislative bodies to prevent the disaster of a no-deal Brexit.
“The SDLP will continue to point out that the best outcome for our agri-food sector is one that remains as close as possible to the current situation.
“We want to see the return of a power-sharing Executive, accountable to a locally elected Assembly, that can help secure that outcome and the prosperous sustainable economic future that all parties claim to want.”